Tutmania at Olympia

On November 4th !922 the archaeologist Howard Carter and his patron, George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, discovered a single step which led to a staircase in the bedrock of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Prior to their visit to the area artefacts had been found which seemed to have belonged to Tutenkhamun who was pharaoh of Ancient Egypt from c. 1334 – 1325 B.C.

The excavation of the staircase took until November 26th when the entrance to the ante-chamber which held the mummy of Tutenkhamun was found. It was not, however, until April 1923 that Carter entered the tomb and discovered a huge quantity of spectacular objects  most of which were taken to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The discovery of the tomb provoked a media frenzy that became known as “Tutmania” which resulted in a fad in the Western world for Ancient Egyptian inspired design. This was seen in many parts of the design world from jewellery to furniture, in glass and ceramics.

In England the Doulton company produced a Lambeth Stoneware jug with applied figures showing aspects of Ancient Egyptian life. 

The young pharaoh can be seen eating and drinking at a table and seated on a lion-legged stool below hieroglyphics . 

The spout is a representation of the golden mask of Tutankhamun. 

An example of this jug will be shown by Brian Watson at the Olympia Art and Antiques Fair as an accompaniment to a piece of glass which was produced at the same time.

Davidson glass bowl showing a lion and hieroglyphics.

The Davidson glass company in the north east of England specialised in press-moulded glass some of which looked very much like porcelain. This was known as vitro-porcelain. When enthusiasm for Tutankhamun developed in 1923 Davidsons produced a very striking square bulb vase with four moulded panels, two of which show a lion and hieroglyphics and two show the Sphinx below a leaf symbol. This was sold in a jade colour or black. The one being exhibited at Olympia is black as shown below.

Davidson bowl showing the Sphinx